February 15: Flash Fiction Challenge

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at CarrotRanch.com. She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

February 15, 2018

Props whomp-whomp-whomp a steady rhythm like the heartbeat of the plane. Cold air seeps through my window, and I can’t help but stare beyond the plane’s beating blades. It’s the only hint of sun I’ve seen over Svalbard since arriving in January. Sherbert hues of lemon and raspberry will be the single spoonful of sunlight for one hour and 54 minutes. And then it sets.

You might be wondering if my snow enclave with Lady Lake Superior has morphed with the Norwegian Arctic, but I assure you I’m still trapped by her snowy tendrils and merely dreaming of staring out the window at the only bit of sun my middlest daughter sees these days.

Mine is a voyage of the imagination. My daughter is the one who experiences the moment in person.

Rock Climber (or perhaps her arctic name should be Ice Cave Empress) lives in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway. She recently posted this photo on her way to a remote job (as if Longyearbyen isn’t remote enough) in Svea. I’m along for an imaginary ride, hearing the endless whomp of the blades, feeling it connecting me to my daughter whose ice caverns are far away from my icy lakeshores.

As inhospitable as ice might be, my daughter writes that the movie, Frozen, has nothing on the ice caverns above Sveagruva (which means Swedish Mine, Svea to the locals). Sculpted frozen flows open like crystal orchids. My daughter explored inside with the small mining town lit up in the valley of snow below. She watched the Northern Lights pool and spray over a glacier, not bothering to take pictures because she said a camera could never catch the dance.

For now, her greatest danger comes from avalanches. A third of housing in Longyearbyen is under avalanche watch, so Rock Climber and her partner, Chef, are working in Svea where they can find rooms. Workers are only allowed 10 days rotation. They don’t seem to mind the dislocation, flying over partial sunrises and endless glaciers. They relish their life on ice.

I’ve come to welcome mine, too.

Last week, Winter Carnival unfolded across Michigan Tech University. Engineering students from nations around the world pulled the traditional over-nighter to finish building ice castles and sculptures. This year, Camelot rose just a few blocks from where I write. Frozen in ice, King Arthur kneels at the sword. Ah, I knew Superior was the Lady of the Lake! Here are the winning sculptures:

Ice ages. I don’t refer to “the” ice ages — I mean, ice grows old. It gets heavy and lined, pocked and dirty. It melts and turns crystalline until grabbing on to more layers of snow. It reminds me of aged cheese. But don’t worry, I’m not going to spread it on a cracker and eat it. I know what the critters do on ice!

Outside my front window, I watch five squirrels run the same tree branch trail around and around. As they bounce from bough to bough, snow plops to the aged ice below. I watch as my daughter flies over glaciers. If the snow extends from here through Canada, across to Greenland and over to Svalbard, are we standing on the same continent of ice?

Where does a mother go when the birds have fledged? I’ve watched male mergansers inflate their heads during their mating season, then shrivel up and fly away. The female mergansers remain, hiding nests from sky-prowlers like eagles and owls. Tufts of feathers emerge as baby mergansers. They grow bold and take to deeper waters and diving. I’ve seen the pond full of mergansers on the verge of flight and within days find only the emptiness.

A few mothers linger about. Neatening up the nest? Taking up grass knitting or reading the stars at night like books, no longer worried about death raining down as eagle claws? The babes made it. The mothers are on their own.

Rock Climber lands in Svea and already morning has turned to dark of night. The whomping blades shudder to stop, and she walks away from the window to new sights and adventures. I tidy up my ice and think of her laugh. My daughter is only an ice flow away. The polar bears slumber and the sun is making a return. She’s the Ice Cavern Empress, and I’m a writing merganser dreaming of sherbert on ice.

February 15, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story on ice. It can be an event on ice, a game on ice or a drink on ice. Go where the prompt leads you.

Respond by February 20, 2018, to be included in the compilation (published February 21). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

***

Pups on Ice (from Miracle of Ducks) by Charli Mills

Garan blew past Danni, kicking up clumps of powder from the recent snowstorm. When he hit the ice, all four paws skittered, and he crashed to his chest, sliding across the smooth expanse.

Danni let out a hoot, and the herd of German Short-haired puppies slowed their bumbling approach to the ice. They pestered their mother, Det and yipped at their father who scrambled to gain traction on the pond. The runt took a bold step, then slipped on the glazed surface.

One bumped another, and then the chase-slipping began. Danni laughed, the only audience to Pups on Ice.

###

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197 Comments

  1. Phyllis Rogers

    I’m crazy for ducks. Loved the post.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Phyllis! I love to duck watch. The divers are among my favorites.

    • Charli Mills

      That’s one way to dress on ice, Joelle! I enjoyed your humor.

      • floridaborne

        Thanks. 🙂

    • paulamoyer

      Having moved from Oklahoma to Minnesota, I can verify that this is how newbies are treated. I was young and green and took it.

      • floridaborne

        Yep. It’s definitely a case of culture shock. I have similar memories.

    • Jules

      We attempt to get acclimated to where we have moved too –
      sometimes it works better than others.
      Yeah, padding helps 🙂

      • floridaborne

        I feel your chilly pain and have been in that situation.

    • Liz H

      I’m a Native Minnesotan, so I don’t know what you guys’re talking about…(heh heh heh…!)

      • floridaborne

        LOL! You’re welcome to go camping in the everglades in August. It’s not like Minnesota in August, although it can be hot there. It’s more like being in a sauna.

      • Liz H

        Years ago, I was in Florida in July, with the kids and Disney World. Fun, but I’m definitely a Snow Baby. 🙂

      • floridaborne

        I’ll bet you paid extra for the gadgets that told you when it was your turn to be on the ride. That way you could sit in the shade and wait. 🙂

      • Liz H

        Naw. We were on a strict budget. We did soak our hats every chance we got, though!

    • Charli Mills

      Eric, your story of Ducky is unfolding with many secrets and dangers. This time, on ice.

    • paulamoyer

      Creepy! I enjoyed it and want to know more about Ducky.

    • Liz H

      The Ducky fires back…this ain’t no carnival!

    • Charli Mills

      A beautiful and frightening flash full of sensory detail.

      • ngrant41

        Thank you.

    • Liz H

      Can almost hear the ping of ice on your hull as you push through…

      • ngrant41

        Thank you – I appreciate the encouragement!

    • Gloria

      Hope you made it back safely!! This is one of my favourites 😉

      • ngrant41

        Thank you. Yes, I did. Lesson learned.

  2. denmaniacs4

    OTZI

    I think of the night,
    The cutting eyes of night
    And sometimes in my fright
    When nothing seems quite right,
    When the topsy turvy globe
    Is spinning like a strobe,
    I fall down on the earth,
    Recall my accidental birth,
    nothing really planned,
    for I was not much more
    Than a prehistoric man,
    Lost in a primeval land,
    Trekking deep in snow,
    Wind, ripping through my skin,
    Ice crystals dangling,
    The chill, damp grave cold,
    Slipping deeper still,
    Clawing my way back,
    The night, deadly black,
    that need to sleep,
    The need to weep
    To fall into ice
    Forever.

    http://www.engleson.ca

    • Jules

      Looked up your ‘guy’ – very interesting – thanks.

    • Charli Mills

      Bill that’s a terrific ode to the Iceman with chilling primeval imagery. I was reading an article recently about how more frozen bodies are surfacing (though not as old as Otzi) in the Alps because of melting glaciers.

    • anuragbakhshi

      What a haunting poem.

    • Charli Mills

      I’m hoping the ice cools his intentions! Great story, Kay.

    • Liz H

      Wow! Very hot stuff~~

    • Lisa A. Listwa

      Love this one. Great atmosphere and tension. Nicely done!

  3. Annecdotist

    I’m glad you can follow your daughter’s adventures in spirit at least, Charli. It must be a bittersweet moment when they leave the nest but of course that’s your job to let them go.
    Although I’d have liked to have seen the photos, your daughter’s right in enjoying the Northern Lights rather than fiddling about with a camera or phone. And those ice sculptures are amazing!
    I felt for that puppy making the confusing transition from snow to ice. There was a heavy frost here this morning but the only ice that remains is on our pond and – I hope sole goldfish survives!
    I’ll post the link to my flash tomorrow: I’ve paired it with a review of a novel set in a hotel.

      • paulamoyer

        Ooh… I hear the theme song of “Jaws” in the background … good one, Anne!

      • Jules

        I’ve only seen some of those photos of the ice hotels…
        I can only tolerate so much cold 🙂

      • Liz H

        Oh Gran!

    • Charli Mills

      I’m hoping your goldfish survive, too! I think they seek cover in the muddy bottom. Many people around here ice-fish, cutting a hole in the ice and dropping a line. I’m glad you enjoyed the ice sculptures! When you have a university full of young and talent engineers, expectations are set high.

      • Annecdotist

        That’s right, Charli, if the pond’s deep enough the fish should be okay. But then when the water heats up they have to take their chances with the heron.

      • Charli Mills

        Herons are marvelous fisher-birds!

  4. paulamoyer

    Lady on Ice

    By Paula Moyer

    Jean had lived in Minnesota long enough to distrust two occurrences in the winter.

    One was a sunny, cold day. The newspaper weather report called it “bright, ineffective sunshine” – the kind of day when the humidity is low and the barometric pressure is high. A subzero-high kind of day.

    The other suspicious event: the first days above freezing. Those days involved lots of melting snow and ice during the day. But it refroze overnight.

    Jean registered the mirrored pavement as she carried her trash to the alley. Careful, careful – woops! Careful wasn’t enough. Lucky. She landed on her butt.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! Good thing for the butt-landing. No matter how careful our steps, the ice is always slicker than our intent to stay upright. A great Minnesota take on the prompt, Paula!

    • Liz H

      “bright, ineffective sunshine”
      Yep! That’s when we bundle up, stay indoors, and find a patch of hot sunshine that’s not too close to the windows. 😉

    • anuragbakhshi

      Ha ha ha. Poor woman.

    • Lisa A. Listwa

      This kind of winter day is my least favorite. Great description.

    • Charli Mills

      Heather, that’s a great and ambitious goal — use all the suggestions! I like flawed characters, too.

      • notyouraveragemomblogweb

        As a stay at home mom, I see my writing now as away to keep myself challenged.

      • Charli Mills

        That’s a good way to hone your skills “on the job”. 🙂

    • Lisa A. Listwa

      I love a good flawed character. Nicely done.

      • notyouraveragemomblogweb

        Thank you. Flawed characters are more interesting. Round characters make for a better story.

    • Liz H

      There needs to be a part 2, where she crosses back to haunt him. Grrrr!

      • Reena Saxena

        ????

  5. Sherri Matthews

    Wonderful to see Danni laughing with the pups 🙂 Lovely, poignant post Charli. Your nest is feathered with the joy of knowing your daughter is only one ice shelf away. And how very proud you are as her mama <3 Fantastic ice sculptures!Now that I know about my Norwegian heritage, I am more drawn than ever! The Northern Lights a must. It is amazing to think of such a tiny piece of sunshine every day. Looking forward to returning in an ice flash hopefully! 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      I felt comforted by the thought that ice connected me to my adventurous daughter. And to your Norwegian ancestors, too! Aren’t those sculptures incredible? I heard from locals that they used to be even bigger but that liability now regulates them to a certain height. I have a Northern Lights app on my phone. I’m determined to see them over Lake Superior one (clear) night! Thanks for riding up to the Ranch, Sherri!

      • Sherri Matthews

        Oh that would be amazing if you were able to see the Northern Lights from where you are Charli! And what better way to keep connected with your amazing adventurous daughter. Just like her amazing adventurous mother 🙂 <3

      • Charli Mills

        That would be! 😀

    • Liz H

      Uffda! His instincts are good.
      Subtly and well done!

      • Ritu

        ???? Thanks!

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Ritu! I like the spark of mystery served over your ice.

      • Ritu

        Glad you enjoyed!

  6. Juliet

    Hi everyone,
    I loved your post Charli, it’s not always easy being a Mama Bird.
    Another sad piece from me today. I wonder when I will stop writing these depressing flashes…

    The Final Show

    Her make-up was all wrong. How could his father have let someone smear on that gawdy lipstick and pink blusher? This woman looked like an ageing Russian doll, not his dear, dead mother.

    As more visitors entered the darkened rooom the humming continued. How many of them realised she was lying on a freezer, its dull whirring working hard to keep away the onset of decomposure.

    She would have hated this final viewing. All these people, all this sad music.

    This was his father’s doing. A final attempt to make things right. This was his show – Guilt on Ice.

    • Jules

      You write about what you need… sometimes it is not a choice.
      Some traditions don’t allow viewings…
      but this reminds me of the time I was at one…and didn’t want to but saw the ‘body’ anyway. Just too creepy.

      • Juliet

        You’re right, Jules. Sometimes ideas won’t go away until they are written down. This little story was again based on real life, or rather real death. It was a highly disturbing experience.

      • Jules

        Too often we have to face the opposite of life. Sometimes starting too young… Been there, done that and don’t want the ‘T-shirt’
        – I can watch CSI shows… because I know they are all actors. But there is still bits of sadness that floats when your favorite characters get axed.

    • anuragbakhshi

      Stories write themselves, so why give oneself undue credit or blame for happy or sad stories 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      It’s good that you are exploring the stories that are bubbling up to the surface, Juliet. This one has a powerful impact. Wow, that last line!

      • Juliet

        Thanks! This was one of those ideas that popped up and then wouldn’t leave me alone…

    • Liz H

      Hey, some gulls prefer someone who can make them laugh…wrong species, but you know what I mean? 😀

      • pensitivity101

        We had gulls, herons, and geese on the marina too. We did have a goose romance though, a Canada fell for a Greylag and they were inseparable.

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! He might melt her heart, yet, Di!

      • pensitivity101

        Indeed he may!

    • Charli Mills

      Lovely cinquain, Colleen! I liked how you used that to preface your flash. Creative, indeed.

      • Colleen Chesebro

        Thanks, Charli. I love this flash fiction challenge! ??

  7. ryanindaswamp

    I’m very much digging your written word. Flowing like the 2 mile high Flagstaff snow. Kinda reminds me of my at times flowing diatribe. Stay up on it. Your star is mega mach blasting through the elongated galactic all encompassing endless space.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for that vibe! I like the 2 mile high Flagstaff snow. I experienced it one year many winters ago.

  8. Jules

    Charli,

    I can imagine every Pup skating 🙂

    We’ve had more rain… though some chilled air is expected over the weekend.

    I doubled my fun here (title is link to post):
    New Beginnings?

    New Beginnings?

    Geegee waited at the bus stop. Not really needing to go
    anywhere. It had been a long cold winter and this spring
    day it just felt good to get out of her apartment. She was
    staring so intently at the crocus sprouting from the side-
    walk that she almost missed his ‘ice-breaker’…

    “Mighty fine day we’re having after all isn’t it Ma’am,”
    Leroy gently rested his old body with respectable space
    between them. “Glory be, that’s one bulb caught between
    a rock n’ a hard place ain’t it?”

    “Well sure enough it is!” Geegee looked toward Leroy
    and smiled.

    ©JP/dh

    • Charli Mills

      Just as I can imagine the two people in your flash talking!

    • Charli Mills

      I appreciate your silliness, Michael!

    • Liz H

      Sharp interpretation of the title…we ALL know that guy.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Jack!

    • Jules

      Begs for the question… is she a corpse or in the process.
      🙂

      • weejars

        Indeed… ????

      • anuragbakhshi

        Both would be equally good fun… for the readers, not the poor woman of course 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      Chilling, indeed, Sarah!

  9. nostalgicablog

    Thank you for the challenge. Wishing you all a great weekend.

    ++

    I’d been deported from Belzonia “for exhibiting dandruff.” I felt they were scratching around for an excuse. Across the border, I headed for No Mules Creek. Iced over for the duration, I couldn’t wash my hair in the pristine rock pools of my youth. I drank from the early morning dew, my exhaled breath like mini clouds. I took to shaving with stalactites or whatever was available. I presented as an empty canvas on which no shadow had fallen. I survived on wild marmalade tacos and essential oil and shared a shelter with the brittle bones of the dead.

    @steveweave71

    • anuragbakhshi

      Poor guy, can’t catch a break.

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to the Ranch, Steve! While I enjoyed your humor (“…scratching around for an excuse…”) I also relished in the otherworldliness of the narrator’s icy shelter.

      • nostalgicablog

        Thank you, Charli. I arrive here with thanks to Bill and have really enjoyed reading these great 99ers.

    • Lisa A. Listwa

      I drank from the early morning dew…
      What a beautiful line!

      • nostalgicablog

        Thank you, Lisa.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Deb!

  10. Norah

    Gorgeous post, Charli. I thought you’d ended it with a perfect flourish. Then I read your flash. I had to laugh at pups on ice. What a hilarious scene. So nice to hear Danni laugh. All’s not bad in the world when we can laugh out loud at life’s incongruousness. The rest of the post is fascinating, and I spent some time finding out about places mentioned. How exotic is your daughter’s current home. While I don’t like our heat, I don’t envy her the cold and dark. The ice sculptures are pretty amazing. Here we have sand sculptures. What talent it takes to create all these wonders, including the beauty of the images in your post.

    • Norah

      Hi Charli, I’ve returned with my little bit of Ice Magic. I hope you like it. https://wp.me/p3O5Jj-15e

      • Charli Mills

        Not only do I like your Ice Magic, but I also learned!

      • Norah

        Learned?

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you for taking the time to explore Rock Climber’s new world, Norah. I appreciate your reading and comments. It amazes me how artists can work with what they have be it ice, sand or fragments of our thoughts into words.

      • Norah

        It was great to find out about Longyearbyen – what a fabulous name. I hope you realise that, when I commented on the beauty of images in your post, I meant the images created by your words. 🙂

    • Charli Mills

      A different direction and a good response!

      • calmkate

        thanks Charli!

    • Liz H

      Nice anthropomorphizing here–loved the tug-of-war and trap. We can only hope the dance continues and balances.

      • Losing the Plot

        Balance is key. But sooner or later that pendulum will have to swing back. Thank you for taking time to read and comment

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Sonia! And welcome to flash fiction…on ice!

      • Losing the Plot

        Thank you, sorry for the multiple posts, I goofed. Haven’t done anything like this before so I’m on a steep learning curve. Brilliant opportunity though – thank you ????

      • Charli Mills

        That’s okay! I learn best by doing, too!

    • Liz H

      Water is indeed Life!

      • janmalique

        It is Liz, and an element deeply connected to our emotions.

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks, Jan!

      • janmalique

        Another lovely prompt you’ve given us Charlie.

  11. Jules

    Still going with the emotional flow (title is post link):

    Small Victory?

    Small Victory?

    The icy stare was one Joyce would not soon forget. One of
    those “how dare you even think of talking to someone ‘I’
    might have been interested in”.

    Joyce and Reggie were downstairs snuggling up on the
    couch on the north wall, when Emma, halfway down the
    stairs vocalized a hello that could have frozen Lake Superior
    in the middle of the summer.

    The sisters were never close, now there was a new
    unspoken wall that registered as a minor triumph for
    Joyce. As Emma stomped back up stairs, Joyce
    was warmed by victory as well as Reggies hugs.

    ©JP/dh

    • Liz H

      Sibling rivalry at its height…but is this familial or sorority? 😮

      • Jules

        oooh… good question… it could be either. We can leave it at that.

      • Charli Mills

        When Liz posed the possibility of sorority sisters, I pictured the setting on one of the “houses” on Lake Superior’s canal.

    • Jules

      Poetically enchanting.

      • goroyboy

        Thank you Jules:)

    • Charli Mills

      A beautiful and powerful flash, Raymond!

  12. Pete

    Thaw Time

    Giles shuffled in carrying a block of ice the size of a bun cake. He found his usual stool, slid the ice down the bar, and inquired about the score.

    “1-0 Penguins are up,” said Billy the bartender.

    Giles smiled. Billy took the ice block, studied it, then chucked it into the sink.
    “Looks like you got about two hours tonight”

    Giles nodded. Roughly two hours and eight beers later the Penguins won in overtime. Billy fished a dripping credit card out from the sink and shook his head.

    “Tell Rhonda the thicker the ice, the more you drink.”

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Hahahaha. I love this.

    • Liz H

      Wonderfully weird! 😀 <3

    • Charli Mills

      This principle is often seen in marriage and parenting — no matter how clever you think you are at controlling a situation, the other gets more creative! Fun take on the prompt, Pete.

  13. Ann Edall-Robson

    Mother Nature gifts us with so much. Ice bells forming along the shore, amongst the cattails is one of my favorites.

    Ice Bells
    By Ann Edall-Robson

    The Chinook winds roll in. Yesterday, -37 today +12. The pond that has been covered with a thick insulating shield of ice now finds itself with tiny puddles forming. Around the edge, last summers’ cattails are mesmerized by the winds. Swaying in their browned coats, watching the wind spraying the melted ice up its stock to dribble back towards the frigid base. A few days of the mid-winter water maker ends as abruptly as it came. In its wake, the ice bells have formed at the base of the cattails in mindless circles below the cold blue sky.

    http://www.annedallrobson.com/99-words/ice-bells

    • goroyboy

      Very nice Anne. I can just picture the base of the cattails making pockets in the ice.

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        If you would like to see the ice bells, all you need to do is follow the link. I have posted a picture of them with my story.

    • anuragbakhshi

      Lyrical. Loved it.

    • Charli Mills

      Only a Chinook in winter could create such a natural phenomenon out of ice, melt and more ice. Great demonstration of an unusual natural phenomenon. Your photo is great!

  14. Shallow Reflections

    What a beautiful piece of prose. I want you to be my writing coach, Charli. My favorite line: ‘Sherbert hues of lemon and raspberry will be the single spoonful of sunlight for one hour and 54 minutes. ‘ And I love the way you circled back to sherbet in the end. You’ve inspired me yet again. Here’s my take on this week’s prompt. https://www.shallowreflections.com/evolution-on-ice-2/

    • Liz H

      Yikes! <3
      (But I wanna ask the mom how the delivery went…)

      • Shallow Reflections

        If I’d had more than 99 words to work with I might have delved into that. I was praying it wasn’t a breach birth. Haha!

      • Liz H

        Ouch! (sits up straighter in her chair, wincing)

      • Shallow Reflections

        Yes, this evolutionary development may result in fewer orthopedic surgeries but more c-sections. I’m a nurse so I always think about the impact on health care. Haha!

    • Charli Mills

      Thank you, Molly! I think its a great circle of inspiration we all join into when we explore and share our wordplay and literary art. I often want to dip a spoon into sunset colors.

      • Shallow Reflections

        It is indeed, Charli. And what a delicious spoonful of loveliness.

  15. susansleggs

    Ice

    “My goodness, I’ve never seen such ice sculptures at a wedding. The liquor bottles are nestled in a huge block and the swans look like they could just up and fly away.”
    “Ostentatious waste! If the bride turns into her mother the ice will be flowing in her veins.”
    “For crying out loud, give them a chance before you predict their doom.”
    “The groom’s already done that. I saw him last night kissing one of the bride’s maids.”
    “A congratulatory kiss I’ll wager.”
    “No, a long kiss with hands roving that would melt all the ice in this room.”

    • anuragbakhshi

      Ha ha ha. Wicked.

    • Charli Mills

      An icy reception, Susan! You played with many uses of the word ice and created a titillating wedding tale.

  16. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Mosaics

    She had followed him then took the lead. Montreal was her idea. Now the river was breaking up, mosaics of ice shifting, jostling, eager for spring.
    Was she going west with him?
    She loved the idea of him but did not love him.
    “No. I’m staying here.”
    “Be careful.” He kissed her then walked away with no more possessions than when she had first met him.
    There goes a beggar, naked
    Except for his robes
    Of Heaven and Earth

    His oft quoted Kikaku. What kind of a father might he have been, she wondered, unconsciously touching her swelling belly.

    • Liz H

      Match made in heaven…

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        ?? Does this work? It’s meant to continue the story of the couple that met in the field last week.

      • Liz H

        Will try to check in later on that…

      • Liz H

        It could, but needs some transition–another 99?–to connect the difference in temperament, what attracted the two opposites, how knowing each other has planted the seed, literally and/or figuratively, of change? She benefits from his contact, but what (if anything) did she give to him?
        I dunno…I always like questions more than closure-by-answers. 🙂

      • Liz H

        Then again, if on an allegorical level, is this about the romance between science/fact and art/expression? Still a match made in Heaven.
        That’s all I got… 🙂

    • anuragbakhshi

      Excellent.

    • Charli Mills

      It works, D. because it can stand on its own without knowing the first flash, and yet it expands the first flash as a sequel. It also sets up fr us to know more. Love the implied metaphor of mosaics, too (not just the ice but the pattern of her life).

  17. Liz H

    What a cool challenge this week!

    A Frosty Farewell

    The fog and sleet haven’t let up since we departed Per’s Point. This far north, the sun is never more than a few inches off the horizon, for a few hours at a time. Had we chosen Midsummer, we’d have had near 24-hour sun.

    But transport would’ve been problematic…
    [Continue]

    • Shallow Reflections

      All bedazzled in diamonds and no place to spend them. What sort of hell is this??

    • Charli Mills

      Ha! A “cool” challenge indeed, Liz. And how clever of you to create a flash fiction cliffhanger leading from this ranch to your place!

    • Liz H

      Ya got me, final sentence. 😮

    • Charli Mills

      Thanks for the fun take on the prompt!

  18. anuragbakhshi

    Your daughter is so lucky Charli. Coincidentally, my wife and I were in Longyearbyen in June last year, though on a cruise, so only for a day. It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, stark, pristine, straight out of a fairy tale, with reindeer and Eider Ducks roaming around freely (Didn’t get to see a polar bear though.) I wrote a series of stories on my blog at that time, based on what we saw there. We were there on a pilgrimage, so to say, since my wife’s Ph.D. was on Phillip Pullman’s Hid Dark Materials trilogy, key parts of which are based in Svalbard.

    OK, enough prologue, here’s my story for this week. Cheers. https://jagahdilmein.wordpress.com/2018/02/19/ice-ice-baby/

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to the Ranch, Gloria! I’m glad Tasheenga could join in the fun with a medieval dark tale.

  19. Kathryn Evans

    Hi Charli and everyone, I’ve been lurking on this site for a while but haven’t posted before. Hope you enjoy!

    Breakthrough

    Rinkside, several onlookers have gathered. Must make it, must, must! Her platinum blonde hair is gathered into a messy bun, athletic build revealed by a lime green skating dress. She accelerates as she skims through on narrow blades. Focusing her gaze at a spot on the ice, she bends her right leg and shoots upwards, propelled by powerful thigh muscles. A pirouette high above comfort zone, safely landed: her first complete jump. Hearing spontaneous applause, she breaks into a beaming smile revealing teeth as white as the Dover cliffs. Today, a single loop – in four years, the winter Olympics.

    • Charli Mills

      Welcome to the side of the fence at the Ranch where you get to play in the corral and wrangle the words, Kathryn! Your character has the looks and the drive. I’m glad you thought Olympic this week (appropriate)!

  20. kim blades, writer

    Ice

    “I don’t care what you want, you are not getting anything.
    The only reason I married you in the first place was to have a pretty mother for my children and a housekeeper.
    But what a let down you have been in both these roles.
    Unfortunately the children seem to have inherited much of your useless personality and your housekeeping accomplishments leave a lot to be desired.”

    At these familiar words, delivered in a voice filled with comtempt; Tracy’s chest constricted and her vision blurred

    The cold dislike in his voice was reinforced by the ice in his eyes.

    • Charli Mills

      Such icy cruelty, Kim. I hope Tracy experiences a thaw and leaves.

    • Charli Mills

      Just in time and you brought pizza! 😀

    • Charli Mills

      It can be lovely to look at from the warm side of a window, too! Thanks, Michael!

  21. Sherri Matthews

    Hi Charli! Will be back later to catch up properly, but just wanted to send my ice flash over 🙂 <3

    Ice Dream

    The time had come. Everything she had worked for, years of slog, sacrifice, pain and sweat, all for this single moment. The roar of the crowd ushered her onto the ice and she glided, smooth as silk into position.

    A tiny lull and then the music, its rhythm pulsating through her every move as she swirled and spun and leapt ever closer to her Olympic dream. Nothing less than gold would do.

    ‘Dinner!’ her mother called.

    The ice on the pond melted overnight, but Claire never forgot her moment of glory in her back garden, alone with the ducks

    • Charli Mills

      Aw, that’s a sweet flash, Sherri! You captured one of those snapshot moments in a child’s life.

      • Sherri Matthews

        A BOTS 🙂 Thanks Charli <3

    • Charli Mills

      Good to see you back, Jeremy!

  22. Lisa A. Listwa

    Love the pups on ice! And oh how I would love to see Camelot in ice!
    This one gave me chills, Charli…so I wrote that.

    http://www.themeaningofme.com/a-cold-encounter/

    Such strange warmth for this time of year.

    Ice is still thick on the lake, a dull mirror for the fog that hovers inches above the surface. Dense and disconcerting, it blurs the distinction between earth and sky. The shroud makes dusk of midday. What am I not supposed to see?

    The silhouette of a vulture materializes across the field. Perched on the fencepost at the edge of the neighboring property, he sits far too close to the house.

    Fear is illogical – death eaters consume only what is already gone.

    Still, I shiver.

    His stare is an icy blade.

    • Lisa A. Listwa

      Have to come back to catch up on all of these…

    • Charli Mills

      Oh, that’s a chilling story that reads like an omen, Lisa.

      • Lisa A. Listwa

        You never know… 😉

  23. Jules

    hum… yup, been there, done that…”Army volunteered.”
    🙂

  24. Charli Mills

    Ah, that’s a sweet take on ice, Denise!

  25. Liz H

    Nothing like authoritarian “Tradition” to put a freeze on having a good time… 😉

  26. Liz H

    Ha! Very cool interpretation… 😉

  27. Charli Mills

    Lovely!

  28. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Geoff!

  29. Charli Mills

    Pierced is a great flash and I thoroughly enjoyed the longer version, too!

  30. Charli Mills

    Thanks, Rebecca!

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